Merrick Fruchtman knew he had a challenge ahead of him when he decided to redevelop the blighted building at 65th Street and North Avenue as the new location for his business, Home Solutions USA.
"The whole building had been damaged by fire, water and smoke," he said.
The roof was falling in, the front half of the building had to be gutted and rebuilt, and after 15 years of vacancy a lot of maintenance issues became evident.
"I knew what the community would want is a new structure, an entire new look," Fruchtman said. "I tried to give that to them."
The extensive problems with the building itself caused some of the delays for the project that first came before the city more than 15 months ago for financial assistance. A large part of the hold up was an investigation into the land under the building.» Read Full Article
Port Washington - A 61-year-old intoxicated man nearly drowned Sunday evening when tried to tie up his boat at the Port Washington Marina, police said Monday.
Police and first responders were dispatched to the marina for a report of a man in the water about 5:45 p.m. Sunday, Port Washington police said in a news release. The caller reported that someone had fallen from a boat and was unable to get out of the water.
When officers arrived, they found Thomas G. Riddle, 61, of Wauwatosa, in the water near a sailboat that was docked south of the boat launch ramps, the release said. Officers were unable to pull him from the water, but held on to him and used flotation devices to keep his head above water until divers from the fire department were able to enter the water and lift him out.
According to witnesses, Riddle's boat struck a pier as it was navigating through the marina and preparing to dock. Witnesses observed Riddle dock the boat and tie off the stern line. While he tried to tie off the bow, witnesses heard a splash and saw him in the water. They immediately called 9-1-1.
After his rescue, Riddle was transported for medical treatment.» Read Full Article
If a tornado was spotted near Wauwatosa and the crowds needed to be evacuated quickly from Hart Park, where would attendees go for safety?
The Muellner Building likely won't provide enough space to handle a full stadium of spectators during an athletic event or a city celebration.
"I'd love to just open the Tosa Room (the space used for curling in the winter and rented for weddings with up to 450 guests the rest of the year) and tell people to come inside, but I don't think they'd all fit," said Mary Clare Shuller, parks department secretary.
Fire officials met with the city's Parks and Forestry Board on Tuesday to talk about creating a critical incident management plan. A binder containing such a plan is rumored to exist, but if so, it has disappeared, Fire Chief Rob Ugaste said.
Upping the ante citywide» Read Full Article
Six sculptures that have adorned the Harwood pedestrian bridge will move to Hart Park by spring.
More than 10 years ago, the Village Business Improvement District partnered with Gary Zimmerman, a principal of Zimmerman Design Group, to commission artist Richard Taylor to design public art. The project cost about $50,000 and was donated to the city.
When Café Hollander took over the building Zimmerman had occupied, it looked to install a fountain and outdoor seating. A couple of the sculptures had to be removed to make space for the new elements. Those pieces have since been sitting in Public Works storage, while other pieces remained on the bridge.
City and BID officials have been working with the artist and donors to find a new spot within the city to display the sculptures. As the playground and site utilities project moved forward near the Rotary Park Pavilion, Mayor Jill Didier saw a place to mix fine art, music and recreation in one area.
"The sculpture was such a special donation, so I think it will be a wonderful addition to an area that is becoming such a gathering place for this community," Didier said.» Read Full Article
Five food businesses will receive financial assistance to startup or expand in Wauwatosa. However, a city leader has questioned whether one of the grant recipients may be too successful to warrant help.
The Wauwatosa Economic Development Corp. met last week to divvy up nearly $262,000 in 2011 Community Development Block Grant funds to businesses that promise to create jobs. Highlands Café, Le Reve Patisserie, Rocket Baby Bakery, Alterra Coffee Roasters and the owners of Cranky Al's will each get 45 percent of the dollars they requested.
"It's great that all this is happening in Tosa but there's a $325,000 gap," Paulette Enders, city economic development director said.
Mayor Jill Didier, a WEDC member, said she could not deem one business more worthy than the other. Instead, they will each get a share of the pot.
"I wouldn't want to see any one project not be funded," she said. "You don't have to pay this back so we will give you what we can proportionately."» Read Full Article
A major road project anticipated to start in the Village next year has been delayed until 2016.
State Street was expected undergo reconstruction, a project that created accessibility concerns for businesses in the Village Business Improvement District. Still after years of construction in the area, BID members wanted the work to just get done.
That was until the state Department of Transportation's plans for Zoo Interchange reconstruction overlapped with the city's project. Two major routes to the Village from the west will see road work aimed at making local streets ready to handle more traffic during the interchange project.
"Having Glenview and Watertown Plank Road closed at same time (as State Street) would be detrimental to our businesses," BID Director Kathy Ehley said.
Keeping State Street open would allow access to the Village from further east, she said.» Read Full Article
If it weren't for Hart Park Senior Center, many older adults would find themselves isolated and see a decline in their mental and physical health.
"It gives people a place to belong," said Michael Price, president of the center's advisory board, getting choked up. "People leave lunch on Friday and say they won't talk to anyone until Monday. It's sad, but it's true."
Between hot lunches and program attendance, the senior center tracked 27,000 visits last year. To continue providing the same level of programs and service, the senior center is seeking $117,500 in Community Development Block Grant funds.
For every $1,000 grant dollars reduced, the center loses 100 visits due to cuts in programming, center Director Mary Noel Johnson said.
Few people in the community could dispute the benefits the center has for the senior population. Unfortunately, the same could be said about the more than a dozen local food pantries, senior-living facilities and service organizations and agencies seeking CDBG money for 2012.» Read Full Article
A naked and crying toddler wandered into a hotel lobby after his mother left to buy cigarettes and snacks Wednesday night.
According to the Wauwatosa police report:
The 19-year-old mother, her boyfriend and a friend checked in with the child at the Days Inn, 11811 W. Bluemound Road.
A while later, the adults left, a hotel employee told officers.
Within 20 minutes of his mother leaving, the 2-year-old boy came into the lobby. Seeing he was naked, employees found towels to wrap him in.» Read Full Article
West Allis Hale used a power rushing attack and timely defensive plays to overwhelm a hard-charging, never-say-die Wauwatosa East team Friday, 44-27.
The Huskies held a commanding 25-7 halftime lead, thanks largely to the backfield triumvirate of junior Taylor Tomczak, sophomore Corey Stingley and freshman Joe Werner. The trio combined for 140 yards and two touchdowns on 20 carries in the first half.
With East leading 7-6 early in the second quarter, Tomczak ripped off 20 yards on three carries in the red zone, ultimately dragging tacklers into the end zone from nine yards out.
Stingley added another touchdown on the ground two possessions later, high stepping through the left side of the line and accelerating down the sideline for the score.
The ground game proved essential on a cold, dry, windy night that saw eight fumbles in the first half.» Read Full Article
A fumble recovered by West on the Mariners’ next possession led to the Trojans’ second touchdown on a 35-yard pass from Morzinski to Mickey Morgan, who shook off several would-be tacklers to make it into the end zone as the first quarter expired, putting West up, 13-0.
The Trojans also took full advantage of their next possession with runs from Develyn Ferguson and Greg Lewis before Tyler Gross leapt up to make a rather spectacular catch down at the St. Francis 12-yard line. That set up a 12-yard touchdown pass from Morzinski to Lewis and a 20-0 Trojans lead.
“I give thanks to my good blockers and my good offensive line and my field players that helped me by getting open and catching the ball,” said Morzinski.
St. Francis head coach Doug Sarver shared that opinion.» Read Full Article
A man was walking at 61st and Wright streets Tuesday night when a man carrying a gun started chasing him.
According to a Wauwatosa Police Department report:
The victim had been walking home from a friend's house at 52nd and Center streets in Milwaukee at 10:34 p.m. As he talked on his cell phone, he realized he was being followed.
One man followed on his side of the sidewalk, while two more men walked on the opposite side of the street keeping their eyes on him. He saw one of the men across the street pull a mask over his face and a hood over his head before he started jogging over.
As the masked man got closer, his hand could be seen in his front sweatshirt pocket. The victim, fearing that the man had a gun and was going to rob or harm him, took off running back to his friend's house.» Read Full Article
Alderwoman Linda Nikcevich won't seek re-election to the Wauwatosa Common Council. She filed non-candidacy papers with the city's clerk's office today.
Nikcevich will finish out her term, which ends in April. As for future plans, she declined in an interview to say whether she planned to run for another office within the city or another level of government.
"I will continue to serve this community long after my term is completed," she wrote in a letter announcing her plans to end her time on the council at the end of her first, four-year term. This is my community where I live, am raising my family and will continue to volunteer and lead in other ways.
Aldermen received election paperwork along with their council meeting packets about a week ago, Nikcevich said. She wanted to make her decision promptly "to give others a change to consider running for office," she said.
Candidate packets for the April 2012 election - the mayor and one aldermanic seat from each of the city's eight districts will be on the ballot - are now available at the clerk's office and on the city website.» Read Full Article
Anyone heading to a hospital emergency room should call 911 for a ride.
"Many people are hesitant to call 911 unless they think the situation is life or death," Deputy Fire Chief James Case said.
He appreciates that people don't want to abuse the service, but explained that emergency room visits are appropriate reasons to dial those three numbers.
What presents as a minor pain or illness could quickly become more severe, perhaps when someone is driving themselves to the ER. Ambulance crews are equipped and skilled to handle such situations, Case said.
In this economy, people are putting off calling ambulances because they are afraid of the charges or don't think the severity of their medical situation warrants it.» Read Full Article
City officials hope the Wisconsin Department of Revenue will approve about $2.1 million in refunds from other taxing entities to help cover a portion of the property tax settlement paid to Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare. If the state agrees, Wauwatosa's request would rank as the largest single chargeback issued.
In any given year, chargebacks are used to make minor adjustments to the tax roll. The size of this request - it returns money for several subsequent years' property tax payments - sets it apart, City Attorney Alan Kesner said.
"They've never had one this large," he told the city's Budget and Finance Committee on Tuesday.
The city has provided information to the state indicating it has no choice but to collect refunds from the Wauwatosa School District, Milwaukee County, Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District and Milwaukee Area Technical College for their portions of the taxes levied on the outpatient health care facility property at 201 N. Mayfair Road. The Supreme Court this summer ruled that a large portion of the property qualifies as tax exempt.
The chargebacks don't come as a surprise to the other taxing entities. Wauwatosa Finance Director John Ruggini has been in talks with officials from each group so they can find ways to come up with their portion of the money.» Read Full Article
An Alterra Café could soon perk up the corner of 68th and Wells streets.
A blighted building sits vacant there, and a developers' proposal to tear it down and replace it with Wauwatosa's second Alterra Café has won the support of both the Plan Commission and Community Development Committee. The coffeehouse's preliminary plans call for a 3,200-square-foot building with an outdoor courtyard.
"Alterra will own it and they will be the only tenant in this building," developer Sean Phelan said.
The Common Council will take action on the matter Tuesday and, if approved, Phelan will get to work finalizing plans.
That lot has been a problem for the city in the past.» Read Full Article
Public Works employees have finished training the use of automated external defibrillators and CPR. That means just about every city worker now has skills to deal with a life-threatening medical incident.
Snowplow drivers, for instance, are in position to see a number of weather-related incidents - such as people collapsing while shoveling their driveways, Deputy Chief James Case said. An AED can be used to a shock a person's heart back into rhythm and keep him or her alive until paramedics arrive.
In the future, the Fire Department hopes to extend those life-saving lessons to the public, Case added.
In the meantime, the Fire Department is taking donations and seeking grant money to equip more of its vehicles with AEDs, Fire Chief Rob Ugaste said.
"We did a great job of getting AEDs in the police patrol cars, but not in our own vehicles," he said.» Read Full Article
Two men have been charged with supplying the heroin on which a 19-year-old Wauwatosa woman overdosed and died in April.
Alexandra Hopping was discovered dead April 18 at her home in the 1800 block of N. 70th St. Police used texts from her cell phone to track down her suspected suppliers.
Daniel Birtic, 23, of Waukesha and Edwin Esteves, 33, of Milwaukee each face a charge of first-degree reckless homicide by delivery of drugs.
Birtic had been charged September 30 with possessing heroin with intent to deliver, and two days later Esteves was charged with two counts of possession with intent to deliver, as well as with being a felon in possession of a gun.
The homicide charges were filed separately on Tuesday.» Read Full Article
Two Wauwatosa teens were arrested for mugging a schoolmate Monday.
According to the Wauwatosa police report:
A 16-year-old boy was walking home from Wauwatosa East High School about 4 p.m., when he noticed two guys seemed to be following him. As he approached 74th Street and Melrose Avenue, one of the guys tapped him on the arm and asked if they knew each other.
As the boy started to walk away, he was grabbed by the arm and an object was pushed against the back of his head.
The robber told him to give him all his money, so the boy emptied his wallet. The two muggers ran off, and the boy told a woman who was out in her yard that he had just been robbed.» Read Full Article
Wauwatosa East whipped Sussex Hamilton and got some revenge in first-round regional action Tuesday night, moving on to face Brookfield Central in the regional finals at 7 p.m. Thursday at Central.
Wauwatosa West saw its season come to an end with a 2-1 loss at Germantown.
In the East victory, Tyson Martens scored the first (Jake DeMots assist, 27th minute) and last goal of the game (Stefano Mercuri assist, 71st), while Bobby Russ scored the middle goal on a pass from Calvin Mabie at 44 minutes.
The Chargers beat East, 2-0, in this game last year and ended the Red Raiders season.
Erik Grancarz scored the Trojans only goal in the 76th minute after Germantown led 2-0. It was too little too late.» Read Full Article
A Wauwatosa man was charged Monday with robbing PNC Bank, 6810 W. State St.
According to the police report:
Matthew McInnis, 21, handed a note demanding $1,000 to a bank teller. The teller handed over cash, and he walked out the door.
As soon as McInnis was outside, the teller locked the entrance doors and told the security guard the bank had just been robbed at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday.
Discarded clothing was found by the curb and McInnis was detained on Powell Place and 67th Street with cash and a knife in his pockets.» Read Full Article
Mayor Jill Didier has named her appointments to the city's Community Development Authority.
The body, which will have state-approved authority to negotiate privately about developments involving public lands and public funds, was created to promote economic development - especially mixed-use projects - in Wauwatosa.
While the city has a Plan Commission and Community Development Committee, those chosen for the CDA have a higher level of expertise in the area of development issues and could provide a more critical review of proposed projects than participants of the existing bodies, city staff said.
All appointees live in Wauwatosa. Two are council members and five come from the business community:
Scott Bush holds the title of vice president of operations for Greater Milwaukee Association of Realtors.» Read Full Article
The West Allis Central and Sussex Hamilton football game Friday night could have been mistaken for a track meet.
The two teams combined for more than 460 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns, all but two of which came on plays of at least 28 yards.
Ultimately, the Chargers outlasted the Bulldogs, 52-35 and kept alive their chances for a Greater Metro Conference title.
Hamilton (7-1, 5-1) dominated the first half and led 45-0 at the break on the strength of its two star running backs who scored three of the team’s five second-quarter touchdowns.
Leading 7-0, senior Nick Patterson opened the second quarter with an 88-yard scoring run and added a two yard plunge, while sophomore brother Drew Patterson had a 45-yard score.» Read Full Article
Friday night’s Greater Metro Conference matchup between Brookfield Central and Wauwatosa East was a harder fought game than the 48-13 score line would indicate.
Despite the loss, Tosa East showed many positives. The Raiders, now 0-6 in conference play and 1-7 overall, rushed for 106 yards and sophomore Quarterback Christian Tolbert passed for 175 yards and two touchdowns.
“He’s done great,” said Raiders coach Jake Wolter. “He came up from JV because our starting quarterback was injured. On the first (touchdown pass) on the pre-snap, we were yelling for him to throw to someone else, but he threw to our old quarterback (Kyle Vnuk), who was pretty well defended, but he’s a bigger kid who could jump up and make the catch. The second one was a nice catch by Vince Cupertino.”
The Lancers offense didn’t miss a beat during the game and jumped out to a 21-0 lead three minutes before halftime on a touchdown run from Jason Meichtry in the first quarter and two from DeMario Harris in the second. The Raiders managed their first touchdown two minutes later after a long pass from Tolbert to Cupertino for a 34-yard pick up, and a well placed touchdown pass that found its way into the hands of Vnuk despite good coverage from Brookfield Central.» Read Full Article
An Alterra Cafe is being proposed for Wauwatosa, at the southeast corner of N. 68th and W. Wells streets.
Developers Sean Phelan and William Ibach are seeking permission to build the Alterra at 6745 W. Wells St. The Plan Commission is to review that proposal at its Monday meeting, according to the agenda.
The site is currently zoned for the Townhomes at Hyde Park, an eight-unit condo building Ibach proposed that hasn't gotten off the ground.
Milwaukee-based Alterra Coffee Roasters Inc. has 11 retail locations, including a cafe on Wauwatosa's west side, at 9125 W. North Ave., and a kiosk in Wauwatosa's Mayfair Mall. The company is building another cafe in Bay View as part of its new wholesale bakery.
Baker Tilly accounting firm had signed a letter of intent to lease around 60,000 square feet at the proposed Washington Square office tower, in downtown Milwaukee.In April, it was announced that the
Three months earlier, I'd reported that the Godfrey & Kahn law firm said it would lease about 80,000 square feet at Washington Square. It would be built on what is now a surface parking lot south of E. Mason St., between N. Jackson and N. Jefferson streets, just east of the Pfister Hotel.
Since then, however, it's been quiet--prompting questions from readers about the project's status.
Washington Square developer Joel Lee tells me the building now has tentative commitments for around 160,000 square feet of space.
But Lee, who's developing Washington Square in a joint venture with Irgens Development Partners LLC, wants to build more than 300,000 square feet.» Read Full Article
Weapons are prohibited from city buildings, the Tosa Common Council decided Tuesday.
There was very little discussion on the topic before votes were cast, 12-4, in favor of the ban that covers guns, knives and electronic weapons. Local law enforcement officers will be the only people allowed to carry such weapons in municipal buildings.
A state law that allows people with a license to carry concealed weapons goes into effect Nov. 1. However, municipalities have the power to prohibit concealed and openly carried weapons within their buildings.
Arguing against the measure, Alderwoman Jacqueline Jay said the city's ban impinges on residents' rights under state law to protect themselves. In addition, she worried that people looking to cause problems or harm wouldn't adhere to the ban, leaving law-abiding residents vulnerable. She was joined in voting against a ban for city-owned buildings by Aldermen Tim Hanson, Cheryl Berdan and Jill Organ.
No one spoke in support of the ban; however, the issue had been discussed at length at the committee level in prior weeks. The city received more than 60 letters from residents supporting the local ban and only a single letter in opposition.» Read Full Article
Two years after Mo's Irish Pub received a controversial approval to raze homes to make space for another parking lot on 108th Place, the pavement is still not in place.
The delay irked Common Council President Eric Meaux to the extent that he asked that a request by the restaurant owners to open earlier on weekends be contingent on the parking lot project moving forward.
"A year is more than an enough time to build a parking lot," he said. "It's been two years."
The council agreed Tuesday night and voted unanimously to allow Mo's to open at 8 a.m. on Saturdays and Sundays as long as they have a substantially complete parking lot by the end of the year.
Mo's received all its permits and construction is expected to start next week, City Attorney Alan Kesner said.» Read Full Article
Wauwatosa has its first candidate for mayor. John Pokrandt today announced his intention to run for election in April.
"My family and I have lived in Wauwatosa for the last 11 years and are proud to call this special place home," he said in a statement. "I have decided to run because I believe that Wauwatosa deserves a passionate and engaged leader. I want to return Wauwatosa to its history of sensible, good governance."
Pokrandt has never held elected office, but he said he has been involved in the community through the Quarry Heights Neighborhood Association.
His campaign slogan is, "Putting Wauwatosa first."
"It means working for business investment and standing up for the city in cases such as Waukesha's water return plans," he said. "Putting Wauwatosa first means being active and engaged in the marketing of this community to businesses and potential residents. It also means being out in the community and being visible, open and available to the residents of this city."» Read Full Article
Mayor Jill Didier can hardly recall attending a meeting with public officials from other communities in attendance where she didn't field questions about her pay.
They wonder why she would work long hours for an annual salary of $22,500.
"It comes up pretty much every meeting that I go to," she said. "People are shocked and awed by that."
Didier said she's kept quiet during past discussions about the mayoral salary to give the Common Council time for debate. The topic has come up several times in the past three years, but any change would not take affect until the next mayoral term begins in April 2012.
She encouraged the Budget Committee last week to determine what level of respect the mayor - and as a result the city - should have among elected peers as well as business contacts such as developers and business owners looking to work with Wauwatosa.» Read Full Article
Eleven jobs will be eliminated if the Common Council approves the proposed 2012 city budget.
Of those positions, 10 are already vacated or are expected to be vacated due to retirement by the end of the year. A proposal to cut a parking specialist position would result in a layoff or a job shift for one employee.
Split into four categories - city hall, public works, police and fire - employee groups were charged with finding cost reductions or revenue increases, City Administrator James Archambo said. In total, departments came up with $1 million in savings, most of which would be achieved by eliminating positions.
"A lot of the gap needs to come from position reductions because we're a service organization and we can't up the levy," he said.
Using more technology» Read Full Article
A 31-year-old man says he was beaten and robbed while he was walking his dog Saturday morning, but doctors who treated him say there were no marks or injuries that showed evidence of a beating.
According to the Wauwatosa police report:
The man told officers he was walking in the 9500 block of West Sarasota Place at 10:30 a.m. when someone struck him on the lower back with a piece of wood, knocked him to the ground and kicked him several times. He never got a look at the attackers except that he saw a tan hand when someone took the watch from his wrist.
The victim said he believes there were two attackers and that one demanded his wallet and threatened his dog's life if he didn't get money. Cash was taken from his pockets, and he was struck in the head with the butt of a pistol several times before he blacked out.
When he awoke, the robbers were gone and his dog was in the street.» Read Full Article
Join NOW and Lake Country Sports Director JR Radcliffe for this week's Prep Sports Primer, the fastest 90 seconds in local high school sports.
Each week, JR will highlight some of the top sports stories in the suburban area. This week includes looks at the standout Homestead girls tennis team, some of the top girls golfers, including Kettle Moraine's Leighann Cabush, and more.
Wauwatosa police are searching for a man who attempted to rob an M&I Bank Wednesday afternoon.
The man walked into the M&I Bank at 76th St. and North Ave. at 4:40 p.m. and passed a note to the teller demanding "money and no dye packs," Wauwatosa police said in a news release Monday.
The teller told the suspect she didn't have anything for him, so he left the bank.
The man took the note with him and was last seen on foot on 74th St. and North Ave.
Police described the subject as a black man in his 20s, about 4 feet 11 inches to 5 feet 2 inches tall, thin to medium build, medium complexion, bald head and wearing a dark blue hooded sweatshirt.» Read Full Article
The 70 percent of Wauwatosa property owners who don't pay their taxes in person at City Hall will need to go to the city's website to print out receipts this year.
For the first time, the city won't be mailing property tax payment receipts. The change is meant to save the city time and money, Business Supervisor Derik Summerfield said.
The city also will no longer use a courier to take tax payments from City Hall to the bank - that will happen electronically, he said.
Even though bank fees will increase because of the electronic submissions, the reduction in paperwork and courier time will result in a $5,000 savings for the Treasurer's Office.
Property owners who come to City Hall and pay at the counter will continue to receive a paper receipt. Residents who mail in the payments could submit a self-addressed stamped envelope or come to the Treasurer's Office at any time to get a print out, Summerfield said.» Read Full Article
More than 200 students and their loved ones walked, bicycled, scooted or skateboarded to McKinley Elementary School today to celebrate International Walk to School Day.
The event helped launch the Walking School Bus Program. Four routes are being offered that will allow children to meet up and walk to school together with one or more adult chaperons.
A larger group is easier for drivers to see crossing the street than one or two children, so walking with friends makes the trip to school safer. Plus, children who walk or ride a bike to school get more physical exercise.
The school PTA organized the Walk to School Day event.
The Children's Theatre of Wauwatosa is celebrating its 75th year of bringing the arts to local youth with a six-show season.
The curtain will rise on the first show, "Choose Thine Own Adventure," at 2 p.m. Oct. 29 at Wauwatosa West High School. The introduction to Shakespeare will be presented.
Season tickets are on sale online at TosaRec.com or at the Wauwatosa Recreation Department, 11400 W. Center St., for $18. Single admission tickets are sold the day of the each show for $4.
The other plays that will be performed are "To Laugh is to Live," "The Crying Princess and the Golden Goose," "The Princess Went Thataway," "The Land of the Dragon" and "Let's Keep the Dream Alive" and "The Musicians."